We’re just over a fortnight away from the end of our second season of the Oxford World’s Classics Reading Group. It’s still not too late to join us as we explore the foggy streets of Victorian London in search of the King of Vampires. If you’re already stuck in with #OWCReads, these discussion questions will help you get the most out of the text. They come courtesy of our resident expert for this season, editor of the OWC edition of Dracula and professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature Professor Roger Luckhurst.
- Dracula is ‘a mass of typewriting’, the transcription and collection of a whole range of different texts. Why do you think Stoker chose to write it in this style? What do you think it adds to the novel?
- It may be that you first encountered Dracula as a film rather than a book. What’s the most surprising thing about reading it, rather than watching it as a film?
- What’s the most memorable scene in the book for you? Why does it stand out?
- Stoker’s various brief notes on his outline for the book, which are very sketchy, nevertheless always go back to the phrase ‘HE IS MINE’, from the early scene where the Count pushes the three female vampires away from Harker’s body. That was clearly a very important scene for him — why, do you think?
- Stoker is always very careful to tell you where you are — and you can map out the geography of the book really precisely — some people even reckon they can identify the houses the Count owns in London. Why do you think he’s so careful with locations?
- I’m always intrigued by the representation of the men in Dracula: they are meant to be heroes defending England from a fiend, and yet they often break down, or have hysterics, weeping and laughing uncontrollably. Do you think Stoker has a model of manhood he’s trying to convey to us in the book? What is it?
- The book came out in 1897, the year when the Diamond Anniversary of Queen Victoria, Empress of India, was loudly celebrated and England congratulated itself on the most powerful and extensive empire in history. Do you think the book offers a confident portrait of England?
- Do you think the book is misogynistic?
- Do you think the book is racist?
- Do you think it matters?
- The late Victorian period seemed to produce some really iconic, long-lasting mythical figures — Jekyll and Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, Count Dracula. Why do you think such figures have survived for so long?
- Do you think recent versions of the vampire (say in Anne Rice, or Stephenie Meyer, or Buffy) have improved on Stoker’s model?
- What’s your recommendation for the best way of killing a vampire?
Featured image: Scary ruins by ehrendreich. CC0 via Pixabay.